I suspect this might surprise you a little, but I haven’t read everything Jane Lovering has ever written. Sometimes you need some treats on the shelf for those difficult moments – when you just know that a book from Jane is all you need to make life good again. Do you know, I really can’t remember why I didn’t read Can’t Buy Me Love when it first came out as an e-book – but Choc Lit have now published it in paperback, so I can actually put it on my shelf rather than it vanishing into my kindle’s murky depths. Here’s the story:
Is it all too good to be true?
When Willow runs into her old university crush, Luke, she’s a new woman with a new look – not to mention a little bit more cash after a rather substantial inheritance. Could she be lucky enough to score a fortune and her dream man at the same time?
Then Willow meets Cal; a computer geek with a slightly odd sense of humour. They get on like a house on fire — although she soon realises that there is far more to her unassuming new friend than meets the eye…
But money doesn’t always bring happiness, and Willow finds herself struggling to know who to trust. Are the new people in her life there because they care – or is there another reason?
I’m delighted to welcome Jane Lovering to Being Anne, writing about family roles…
Part of the ‘theme’ of Can’t Buy Me Love (if I can be allowed to have something as pretentious as a ‘theme’) is the heroine, Willow, having been cast in the family role of ‘the responsible one’ and being unable to break out of that assigned position, even now she, and her siblings, are adults. They’ve had a chaotic upbringing, and have rebelled by building careers and holding down jobs that would probably disappoint their free-spirited parents, but they’ve still stuck to the characters that their family gave them when they were children.
It’s hard to break the mould that you were cast in as a child. Were you the ‘tidy’ one whose room was always clean? Or the ‘messy’ one? Or the ‘badly behaved’ one? Of course, we all filled all of these roles at one time or another, but it’s often the case that parents get stuck on one child being particularly good (or bad) at one thing, even though the evidence no longer points that way and hasn’t for decades. And, of course, there’s the self-fulfilling prophecy, as in Willow’s case, where, once that role has been thrust upon you, you tend to live up (or down) to it because it’s so hard to break out of, which leads to more of the parental reinforcement…and so on.
In Willow’s case, it’s led to her avoiding big changes in her life. As she sees it, her role is to keep everything on an even keel, not to rock the family boat or cause any drama (she’s got her twin brother Ash for that). It makes her afraid to step over the invisible lines she’s drawn for herself. Even worse, she doesn’t realise what she’s done. It’s been slow and insidious, and, until Cal points it out, she just thinks she’s living a normal life.
So, what role were you cast in? Do you still live in that role? Just beware – sometimes those childhood labels can make you vulnerable in ways you wouldn’t even imagine…
Ah Jane, we could talk for ages about that… I’ve always been the practical and responsible one. Thanks for a perfect post.
Can’t Buy Me Love is available now as a paperback and an eBook. Purchasing options can be found here.